Authorities continue to search for perpetrators through surveillance footage and social media posts
WASHINGTON – U.S. law enforcement authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the Capitol attack involving hundreds of investigators to identify and arrest the perpetrators, officials said.
Acting D.C. Attorney Michael Sherwin said 15 people have been charged in federal court in Washington in connection with the riots, and 40 more have appeared in the district’s highest court on charges related to what happened just before the riots.
Most are charged with trespassing on Capitol grounds.
Among the charges are theft of government property and firearms violations.
One man was arrested outside the Capitol on charges of carrying a semiautomatic assault weapon and 11 Molotov cocktails, Sherwin said.
The rioting left four people dead and several dozen injured.
The arrests are just the first step in efforts to bring those responsible to justice, Sherwin said.
“This was obviously a very dangerous situation,” he said. – “We’re trying to review these cases as quickly as possible, and although only 15 cases have been filed so far, it’s a good start, but it’s by no means the end.
Bringing so many charges in just 36 hours underscores the aggressiveness of the prosecutor’s office’s approach.
As Sherwin explained, since most of the rioters were allowed by Capitol Police to go home, the effort to identify and arrest the perpetrators could take months, if not a full year.
Hundreds of investigators are reviewing surveillance video and social media posts to identify the perpetrators.
“We will aggressively pursue charges in these cases,” Sherwin said.
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said, “The Justice Department is determined to ensure that those responsible for this attack on our government and the rule of law are held fully accountable for their actions under the law.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray assured that his agency is “deploying all investigative resources” to bring charges against the perpetrators.
The attack, which Rosen called “an intolerable assault on a fundamental institution of American democracy,” began as members of Congress were holding a joint session to certify the results of the presidential election.
Many hold President Donald Trump responsible for fomenting the turmoil, who, during a speech at a rally, urged his supporters to continue to challenge the election results.